OPINION - Evening Standard Comment: A perilous moment for Ukraine, Europe and the global rules-based order

·1-min read
 (AP)
(AP)

While Westminster is infatuated with political defections, inquiries and who did what in the Number 10 garden, the world is growing ever-more focused on what is taking place in Europe’s backyard.

Ukraine, a sovereign state with internationally recognised borders, is facing further threats of invasion by Russian troops, 100,000 of which are stationed near the border. These must be taken seriously, given that President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 and has sent forces into eastern portions of the country.

Moreover, last week Ukraine was hit by a cyber-attack that crippled key government websites, and Kiev has said it holds evidence of Russian involvement. This is plausible, given that Putin previously used such measures during the 2008 invasion of Georgia.

At a press conference yesterday to mark his one-year anniversary in office, President Joe Biden suggested that Russia would “move in” on Ukraine and that it would pay a substantial price for doing so.

This is a perilous moment not only for Ukrainians but for the European continent and the global rules-based order. Putin is testing our resolve to defend democracy. If Russia were to invade, the West’s response must be swift, tough and unified.

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